Background: In aged populations, muscle strength depends more on muscle quality than on muscle quantity, while all three are criteria for the diagnosis of sarcopenia. Intracellular water content (ICW) in lean mass (LM) has been proposed as an indicator of muscle quality related to muscle strength in older people. Objectives: To evaluate the relationship between the ICW/LM ratio, muscle strength and indicators of functional performance in obese older adults, and to assess the value of the ICW/LM ratio as an indicator of muscle quality. Methodology: Design: cross-sectional study. Population: persons aged 65–75 years with a body mass index of 30–39 kg/m2
. ICW and LM were estimated by bioelectrical impedance. Hand grip, gait speed, unipedal stance test, timed up-and-go (TUG) test, Barthel score and frailty (Fried criteria) were assessed. Sarcopenia was established according to EWGSOP2 criteria. Results: Recruited were 305 subjects (66% women), mean age 68 years. The ICW/LM ratio correlated with the TUG test, gait speed and grip strength, and was also associated with sex, the unipedal stance test and frailty. Independently of age, sex and muscle mass, the ICW/LM ratio was related with gait speed, the TUG test and unipedal stance capacity. One person (0.3%) had sarcopenia defined as low muscle strength and low muscle mass, while 25 people (8.2%) had sarcopenia defined as low muscle strength and poor muscle quality (ICW/LM). With this last definition, sarcopenia was related to frailty, gait speed and the TUG test. Conclusions: ICW content in LM could be a useful muscle quality indicator for defining sarcopenia. However, more studies are required to confirm our findings for other populations.
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